"We are swinging high flying way up, higher than in real life.And when I look down, I see all the ordinary stuff -- our brick house, the porch the tool shed, the oil drum barbecue pit, the clothesline, the chinaberry tree.But they are all lit up from inside so their everyday selves have holy sparks in them, and if only people could see those sparks, they'd go and kneel in front of them and pray and just feel good. Somehow the whole world looks like little altars everywhere."
Little Altars Everywhere is a national best-seller, a companion to Rebecca Wells's celebrated novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Originally published in 1992, Little Altars introduces Sidda, Vivi, the rest of the spirited walker clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas. It is now available for the first time in hardcover.
Told in alternating voices of Vivi and her husband, Big Shep, along with Sidda, her siblings Little Shep, Lulu, Baylor, and Cheney and Willetta--the black couple who impact the Walkers' lives in ways they never fully comprehend--Little Altars embraces nearly thirty years of life on the plantation in Thorton, Louisiana, where the cloying air of the bayou and a web of family secrets at once shelter, trap and define an utterly original community of souls.
Who can resist such cadences of Sidda Walker and her flamboyant, secretive mother, ViVi? Here the young Sidda -- a precocious reader and an eloquent observer of the fault lines that divide her family -- leads us on a mischievous adventures at Our Lady of Divine Compassion parochial school and beyond. A Catholic girl of pristine manners, devotion, and provocative ideas, Sidda is the very essence of childhood sorrow and joy and sorrow.
In a series of Luminous reminiscences, we also hear Little Shep's stories of his eccentric grandmother, Lulu's matter-of-fact account of her shoplifting skills, and Baylor's memories of Vivi and her friends, the Ya-Yas.
Beneath the humor and tight-knit bonds of family and friendship lie the undercurrents of alcoholism, abuse, and violence. The overlapping recollections of how the Walkers' charming life uncoils to convey their heart-breaking confusion are oat once unsettling and familiar. Wells creates an unforgettable portrait of the eccentric cast of characters and exposes their poignant and funny attempts to keep reality at arm's length. Through our laughter we feel their inevitable pain, with a glimmer of hope for forgiveness and healing.
An arresting combination of colloquialism, poetry, and grace Little Altars Everywhere is an insightful, piercing and unflinching evocation of childhood, a loving tribute to the transformative power of faith, and thoroughly fresh chronicle of a family that is as haunted as it is blessed.
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"It can wear you to a nub, trying to be a popular person and a good Catholic all at the same time." So says Sidda, one of the characters inhabiting Little Altars Everywhere. Author Rebecca Wells uses her considerable acting talent to perform this abridgment, adding even more spark to her already lively characters. Everyone--Shep, Vivi, Willetta, and the rest--is given a distinct voice, and Wells plays each of them to the hilt. More like a recording of a one-woman show than a mere reading, Altars is an excellent example of how entertaining audiobooks can be. (Running time: 3 hours, 2 cassettes) --C.B. DelaneyAbout the Author:
Rebecca Wells, a Louisiana native, is an author, actor and playwright. Her works for the stage include Splittin' Hairs and Gloria Duplex, for which she created the lead roles.
She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Western States Book Award for her first novel, Little Altars Everywhere.
She tours a one-woman show based on Little Altars Everywhere and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
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